July 7, 2014

Praise Him in the Storm

Today was one of those days! It seemed like nothing went my way. It all started this morning when I was writing my morning blog post. I tried to add in a photo, like I normally do, and for some reason my computer locked up. I normally use Firefox for my browser, so I tried opening up Chrome. Same thing happened. Then I tried Safari and again the browser locked up and my computer stalled with the dreaded spinning "marble of doom" on the screen. An aside: for those of readers who are not Mac people, that is the rainbow colored wheel that spins whenever the Mac is busy.

After waiting a while for the marble to stop spinning, I performed a hard reboot. Typically, the Mac doesn't like to be treated so roughly, and when you must shut it down this way, it will roll over and put it's little feet in the air and then do nothing for a time. Sometimes, it will reset itself, while other times, it will just go back to being "busy."

Today, my Mac decided the latter was good. It stayed busy for a long while.

To say that I am impatient is an understatement. I consider myself to be fairly patient with most things. I can be very "chilled" when I want to do so. I can also be hyper-frustrated at times. I had a small meltdown, which according to my Mother, was rather unpleasant to experience. She told a friend that she had to leave the room because a certain word was being used excessively. Yes, I admit that at times, there are certain words that I utter that are not the most lady-like. I fault my wild teen years when I allowed myself the courtesy of learning how to cuss properly. You have to understand that in my home, no cussing was allowed. My mother was raised German Baptist/Brethren (sort of like Mennonite) and her grandparents spoke Pennsylvania Dutch. They cursed in German, LOL! In English, however, certain phrases were used that were polite curse words. So growing up we were allowed to say these words, but we never were allowed to say the actual curse words.

I digress a bit: growing up in Chicago in the mid-1970's required a sturdy style and a strong vocabulary. Saying "drats" and "gosh" didn't really cut it. I didn't want to be bullied, so I learned to be tough. I learned to say things that my Mother would not have approved of me saying. Well, golly gee, those words stay with you. I don't cuss, and I raised my son not to cuss either. My mental mouth though tends to run towards certain words when frustration hits hard. Or when I hit my thumb with the hammer or stub my toe or slam my finger in the patio door. Yes, I admit that at certain times, I have said words that shouldn't be said.

As a second aside - I have used my language example many times in AWANA. I used to teach 4-6th graders the importance of choosing good words, and I would always share my experience with them. I would tell them that one of the reasons Awana encourages youth to learn Scripture is to fill their minds with God's Word. If you have to have words come out of your mouth when you are frustrated -- how blessed that they be His Words, KWIM?

Anyway, Mom retreated to the family room while I continued to rant about the inadequacy of computers. I was desperate to get on the Internet and to be productive today, so I switched my Mac out for my Windows 8 PC. Oh yeah, baby, I was desperate! I was desperate BIG TIME! If you know me, you will know that I loathe anything Windows related. I have a PC and a laptop that both run Windows. One has version 7 and the other has version 8. I detest them both (Windows XP was the last decent OS to come out of Seattle, IMHO!)

Rather than practice patience (it is a virtue, after all), I decided that I needed to "do something" to fix the problem. I started to work with my PC only to find that I was unable to connect to the Internet. Yep, I was stone cold dead in the water. My Mac was spinning helplessly out there in Macland, and my PC was not cooperating at all. I wasted 3 hours trying to figure out why my PC wouldn't connect to the Internet. Once I figured out the problem, got it remedied, I found that I had wiped my applications off the machine. Yep, I did it to myself.

By this time, both of my parents had run for cover. My son was ensconced in his room, probably with head phones on, either listening to music or playing Call of Duty. I was alone in my room -- even Ike and Winston hid from me.

I think I finally got everything back to order around 4 p.m. Then as I sat down to test my luck -- I got sanctioned by Facebook. I was locked out of my account for five hours -- due to system maintenance. All I could think about was that I had been hacked. I mean -- seems like an awful lot of coincidence going on for one day.

Well, good news, I wasn't hacked. Facebook came back on around 9:30 this evening, and everything was as it should be (I worried about it for a couple reasons: 1, I am addicted to the social network; 2, I am admin for my PhD cohort; 3, I am admin for my church; and 4, did I say that I am addicted?) OK, so I really did worry that I might not be able to get in to the important pages -- my cohort page and my church page.

The issue in all of this, really the crux of the issue was this: I spent the entire day under intense pressure, scrutiny, trial -- whatever you want to call it -- I felt the heat of crisis. I felt it, and I didn't deal with it well. Instead of choosing to Praise God, I chose to melt down, to give in to the turmoil. I lost my countenance and I lost my cool. I lost both BIG TIME.

As I consider my actions this day, I am reminded of Psalm 46:

1 God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

8 Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolation's he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Lord, I failed to be still. I failed to recognize that you are my ever-present help in times of trouble. You are a mighty fortress, a tower of refuge and strength. I failed to give you the praise during the storm of my life this day. I humbly confess my arrogance and my futile ways -- thinking I could figure out what to do on my own. I chose my own way today, and I suffered as a result of that foolish decision. Please forgive me, Lord, forgive my sin. I ask this now in the mighty Name of Jesus. Amen! so be it, thy will be done! Selah!

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